Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Accidental Perfect Husband (Part II): A Tale by Emily Barton

(This post will make more sense if you read the previous post first.)

Princesses Becky and Marcy dismounted their steed and walked through the castle doors, magic trailing behind them in silver and gold sparkles, as they regaled Princess Emily with descriptions of their exciting and magnificent journey south. They had encountered amazing storms, lightening that lit up the Philadelphia sky (although how they ended up in Philadelphia is still a bit of a mystery) and had avoided such nuisances as plagues of frogs. They had brought books and music and chocolate and wine (red AND sparkling), along with clear skies and cooler weather. Immediately, their magic settling into every nook and corner of the castle, things began to change. Prince Bob announced that his migraine was gone (almost as quickly as it had appeared), and they all sat around to eat such delicacies as Pringles, Fritos, and Cheez Doodles while sipping their wine.

Prince Bob decided, at this point, that everyone needed to listen to The Byrds. Princesses Becky and Marcy humored him and his enthusiasm, even though the volume at which he insisted on playing it did not exactly lead to being able to converse without yelling. But by the end of the evening, after they had had their share of (not much of) the disastrous soup (but who cared by then, after filling up on all those delicacies?), casserole, and salad topped off with Amish chocolate cake, he had progressed to Simon and Garfunkle, which everyone could truly appreciate (and even sing along to when "At the Zoo" came on). They were in high spirits, if a little exhausted, when they all headed up to sleep, way past the princesses' normal bedtimes.

The next morning, the coffee pot decided to rebel when Princess Becky came down to make the coffee for everyone. Princess Emily was sure it must have given up the ghost, but with a little urging (and probably some more of that magic, which was still just climbing out of bed itself), it sprang back to life, and the princesses were able to drink large mugs of coffee before heading out to the royal farm stand to get Amish sticky buns and coffee cake to go with more mugs of coffee. All the sugar and caffeine provided them with a nice buzz to get the day going, and soon enough, they were almost ready for a trip to the neighboring village of Lititz to visit its marketplace.

The royal plumber arrived shortly before they left, and Prince Bob gallantly left the princesses to their own devices while he dealt with the plumber and then proceeded to amuse himself for the day. Princess Emily fully expected some sort of catastrophe, some urgent matter that would cut short the morning in Lititz, but no. Prince Bob called her to tell her everything was fixed fine and had no other problems that needed Princess Emily's attention (this is a rarity. Barely a day goes by that Prince Bob does not need Princess Emily's help with something. Usually, she is at least called upon to find some article of clothing that he must have now and can't find or to help him with some sort of preparation of food) the rest of the day.

Princesses Becky, Emily, and Marcy went on to have a lovely day. The marketplace in Lititz proved to be quite charming. Princess Emily bought herself some jewels and trinkets, and they all met the royal artisan who makes the marvelous throne, along with other beautiful works of art that double as comfortable places to sit and eat. They feasted on sandwiches, sitting outside in the fine, spring weather, and when they were done, it was time to set off for the village of Intercourse for more food and drink. This time it would be tea and scones and crumpets served on fine china in the lovely little tea room. Princess Emily was thrilled to discover that the tea shop now carries Mars Bars, so she no longer needs to beg Princess Becky to bring them back from England for her.

When they got back to the castle after their adventures, Prince Bob, who had slowly been morphing into Prince Charming all weekend, seemed to have completed the process. It was soon time for the Grand Horse Race that takes place every year in the Kingdom of Marlyand (a.k.a. The Preakness), and he suggested they should all watch it while they sipped the sparkling wine Princess Marcy had been kind enough to bring to the castle. This the three princesses did while lounging on Princess Marcy's bed (the royal television couch converts into a bed when Princess Marcy and Becky visit). Prince Bob/Charming served as bookie, keeping track of who was "betting" on which horse, as well as waiter, refilling glasses as needed.

Before they knew it, the race was over. And what an exciting race it had been, especially with Prince Bob/Charming eagerly getting everyone into the spirit. Princess Marcy's horse had won, and they all congratulated her before the princesses realized it was now time to dress for dinner. Everyone changed into their royal gowns (affording Princess Marcy yet another opportunity to change shoes), and Prince Bob/Charming changed into his finest suit of armor to escort the beautiful princesses to the Royal Pub.

It was at the pub that Prince Bob/Charming kicked into high gear. He ignored the odd looks cast at the three princesses, as they walked through the door, from a Wicked Party of Starers taking up a good deal of space at the establishment, and he blocked the Black Magic the Starers had tried to send the princesses' way. He escorted them to a table with three seats, politely choosing to stand until he could secure a seat of his own (which he was not able to do from the Wicked Party of Starers, despite the fact they had a chair that obviously was not being used by anyone). He then told the princesses to sit tight while he brought menus and ordered everyone's drinks and food for them, bringing it all back to the table, so that the princesses could sit and enjoy themselves without having to lift even a pinky finger.

Princess Emily barely recognized this Prince Charming (it's amazing what the company of beautiful princesses he rarely sees can do to a man, isn't it?). He seemed to be perfect in every way: perfect server, perfect chauffeur, perfect conversationalist... And that was when it hit her: Princesses Marcy and Becky had done it. They had sneakily cast their magic spells and had helped her find the Perfect Husband, while she was busy thinking they'd been in search of another Perfect Day. Of course, he is, quite obviously, only perfect when under a magic spell, a Perfect Husband who can only be found accidentally when Princess Emily is not looking for him and who is obviously easier to find when in the company of certain princesses, but still, he is there. And Princess Emily doesn't really mind that magic is necessary in order for him to appear. After all, she loves magic.


Bob said...

Princess Emily, Your Kingdom sounds perfect, written with a touch of Woody Allen (or is it Mel Brooks?). Say hello to Prince Bob/Charming. We all need a little magic.

mandarine said...

We should try this sort of regal metaphor more often. After all, our lot is generally much more enviable than that of Kings and Queens of old, except perhaps for the 'power' bit.

I hope the 'perfect husband' charm has a long half-life.

Stefanie said...

What a wonderful day and how marvelous to discover that Prince Bob is actually the Perfect Hudband in disguise! That is sometimes the way with Fairy Tales :)

pete said...

A perfect husband and a perfect story too. I love the sprinklings of magic about the place and all that coffee and cake. And we could all do with a few spells to help us through the day. Thanks, Emily.

Emily Barton said...

Bob, Prince Bob/Charming says "hi" back.

Mandarine, yes, perfect without the "power bit."

Stefanie, sort of like frogs who just need to be kissed a little.

Pete, you're welcome. You must come and have some coffee and cake.